Fall from grace...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by extreme, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    I feel compelled to share. I don't know why, but maybe someone else will be helped by this.

    I joined a band about 2 1/2 years ago. These guys had been a top shelf band and I made a couple grand my first month with them. These guys decided to ditch the horn player and singer and stop playing your basic cover band material and play what they wanted.

    If people requested tunes at a gig, the bandleader would mock them and then play a country two-step and sing the requested song title a few times, ask the person if that was the song, then tell them we didn't know it. He would constantly make inappropriate sexual comments to the staff and audience.

    By the end of that summer, the set list was 50% instrumentals. These guys continued to get bookings off of previous successes and the band continued on. Now, we are at the end of another summer season and nobody left the lights on.

    The bandleader can no longer get a return call from any bookers and these guys played 130 dates their busiest year. They used to never take bar gigs because that was "below" them. This summer contained a few bar gigs and too many farmers' market gigs playing on the sidewalk for tips.

    Now, the only gig offer is at a tiny coffeehouse that pays 15% of the till and is never busy. Anyone that plays there is lucky to get about $35 and then split that up. I'm being given the riot act because an opening came up for later in the month at this little coffeehouse and I'm already booked with another band playing a nice club date.

    All I'm trying to say is please be respectful of your audience/co-workers/fellow musicians, etc. These guys deserve to be sitting at home and it's taken this long to fully burn every single bridge they had and they're finally now waking up to reality.

    Meanwhile, I've always encouraged others, jammed with others, filled in and helped out with others' gigs as I was able to, etc. So, I've got 8 gigs this month in spite of these guys sitting at home!

    So, yeah...be vulnerable, take risks, step outside of your comfort zone, learn new things, and be a positive person. These things will help you weather the storm. And, in reality, I knew where this was going two years ago, but I opted to take the paying gigs I could get. I got to play a lot of new places with lots of other musicians as a result of this group, so it was a learning experience.
  2. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    NO one spoke up when this was all on going? Experienced musicians should know better.
  3. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Anyone that spoke up was deemed "not fun" by the bandleader and subsequently booted/not called. They went through a couple sax players, one drummer one summer, another the next, and by this spring it was any darn person with a pulse that would sit behind the kit...sub after sub until a young, enthusiastic guy with no sense of time impressed them. I objected, but was overruled...they deemed this guy to be the best drummer they had ever played with, which is categorically false!
  4. For real? Such a sad story. Probably far too late to hook up with the original singer and get the old gigs back.
  5. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I would be working on disassociating myself from these fools
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    The OP says he hung on just to work the paying gigs that were worth the effort. I get that. But he was savvy enough to know the band had a short shelf life and positioned himself accordingly ... ie, he's still working with other projects while the band slowly disintegrated. Hardly an unusual occurrence.

    I had a similar experience but it only lasted about 2 months (not 2 years!). Joined a bluegrass band (on acoustic upright), they sounded ok, but not great. Had gigs on the books so I signed on. We did a half dozen gigs, none put more $50 in my pocket, but what they paid was enough to cover my gas and strings. Then they booked a Sunday afternoon gig at a tea shop in a sleepy little town about 40 miles from my home, playing for tips. Tea room? Tips? Nah, I told the BL I wouldn't do it. They never called me again. I think they went through a couple of bassists over the next couple of years, and now are defunct.
  7. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    I've worked with bands who were formed with the intent of only playing *one* show.
    (Not that they're up-front about it.)

    Put in the requisite rehearsal time, get a good sound,
    play the venue/festival, and then dropped faster than Ron Jeremy's fluffer.

    I rather dislike start-up for that reason.
    Screening band opportunities is a good thing.
  8. Wow bummer - well, at least the BL is lucky no one has popped a cap in his @$$ yet.

    Anyway, it's good you’ve found work elsewhere and no longer have/want to work with them anymore.
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Sounds vaguely familiar to my last band! Dude lost a lot of good musicians. Now they are the laughing stock of the area! How they keep getting gigs is beyond me!
  10. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    You sound like a smart guy to me.
  11. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    BL has a self destruct wish apparently
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That BL has serious issues. It's too bad he had to take others down with him.
  13. with new bands I've not gigged with, I'm happy go anywhere as far as they want ONCE as long as I get gas, food & drinks taken care of. If it's more than a 2 hr drive, must include lodging for the wife & I.

    If it all works out and we go home with a few bucks on top of that, then sure, I'll do it again, but if some poor sap is paying for gas out of his/her own pocket, I won't stick around very long. I feel bad for folks who pay the players out of their own pockets and lose money on some of these things. I'd rather just not take the gig.
  14. Octaves


    Jun 22, 2012
    I'd be curious to know how long it took them to get into the fruitful position and how long they stayed there before the fall from grace? Just trying to work out whether it was fluke, beginner's luck or skill that got them success in the first place?

  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That's a great question and I'd be curious to know that as well. Sometimes a really crappy BL manages to put together (or fall into) a group of talented musicians who all work really well together... but as with anything else (sports team, business, etc.), bad leadership eventually undermines great talent and then things fall apart. It sounds like that's what was happening here.
  16. the yeti

    the yeti Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    and a follow up question: what are the singer and horn player doing now?
  17. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Okay, one singer has his own originals project and the previous is an older guy no longer gigging. One horn player plays lots of jazz and salsa gigs and the other has stepped back from gigging...really artsy guy, good personality, and can sing enough tunes to front a band.

    These guys were in the top 3 for "band of the year" category in the local paper for 3 consecutive years and really had a thing going. The guitar player was the only original member and handled all the booking.

    They didn't want to pay a cut to a singer, so started splitting vocal duties amongst the instrumentalists, then cut out horn players unless it was a high profile gig.